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17 de septiembre de 2015 | | |

Colombia: Cauca indigenous leader arrested; interview with John Henry Gonzales

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The member of the organization Peoples Congress of Colombia and indigenous leader of the South West region of this country, Feliciano Valencia, was arrested last Tuesday, September 15, after a tribunal ordered his detention, violating the indigenous autonomy and incriminating the spokesperson of several social movements.

Real World Radio interviewed John Henry Gonzales, also member of the Peoples Congress of Colombia, some hours after the arrest was made known.
Indigenous leader Feliciano Valencia was arrested on September 15, 2015, after having participated in a work activity of the indigenous Education Program held in Popayan city. The arrest warrant was issued by the High Court of Popayan, who repealed the first ruling that had declared the leader innocent.

This repeal follows a ruling that violates the political constitution of Colombia and the special indigenous jursidiction that is part of the social, multi-ethnic and pluricultural state of law.

Feliciano has permanently suffered from persecution, threats and harassment. The Colombian State declared his situation of high risk, the IAHRC issued precautionary measures to protect him and the international community has permanently demanded the Colombian State to prevent and protect his integrity and that of his family.

The Peoples Congress spokesperson, John Henry Gonzales, said that the case against Feliciano Valencia ignores the cultural and indigenous cultural and legal autonomy, since one of the native peoples applied a scourge sanction against an officer of the security forces that infiltrated it and this generated different persecution events.

Feliciano is an indigenous leader of the Association of Indigenous Cabildos of the North of Cauca (ACIN), spokesperson of the Social and Community Resistance Minga and the Peoples Congress; he is considered a Master of Wisdom by UNESCO, he is one of the most significant leaders of the social struggles of this century in Colombia. He is renowned at national and international level for his deep knowledge about ethnic rights, his important contributions in terms of the advances of the Indigenous legislation, and his participation in big regional and national debates with former presidents of Colombia Pastrana, Uribe Velez and current president Juan Manuel Santos.

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